How PepsiCo is Onboarding Brands into Web3

August 2, 2023

Kate Brady, leader of PepsiCo’s Next Gen Direct-to-Consumer Connections and Innovation team, took the stage to close out the D2 Summit: Retail Edition in Chicago. PepsiCo has been onboarding its extensive portfolio of brands into Web3. “I had the privilege of leading global media innovation across PepsiCo for the past four years and really went down the rabbit hole about a year and a half ago into the Web 3 space. About eight months ago, we stood up a brand-new team within our organization called our Next Gen DTC team, which I have the privilege of leading our connections and innovation pillar. As a part of that, our goal is really about innovating ways to directly connect with our consumers, creating more smiles with every sip, bite and click.” The mission of the team is to grow consumer lifetime value by identifying, developing, and scaling new capabilities and solutions to enhance and enable two-way connections across all consumer touchpoints.

Onboarding Areas of Focus

There are three distinct areas that the company is focused on: consumer engagement innovation products, global loyalty and rewards, and PepsiCo’s Web3 COE—or center of enablement. “There, we are really charged with helping onboard and shepherd our organization into this new territory,” she says, as well as ensuring that the company is compliant and managing any associated risk.

Brady says that the approaching blockchain-enabled decentralized Web3 space is putting ownership back into the hands of the users. “It’s something that we are in the very, very early stages….So I think it’s really critical to take notice of that now and that there’s an opportunity for us to lean in and grow with it as it evolves,” she says.

PepsiCo, she says, believes that Web3 has the power to revolutionize the way that the company goes to market and connects with consumers in deeper and more meaningful ways in the future. “We also recognize that the traditional media landscape is becoming increasingly more fragmented, more difficult to connect with who our future consumers are. Especially those Gen Z and Gen Alphas—they’re not watching tv, they’re not listening to traditional radio, they’re not even watching any social feeds. So, a lot of those dollars are going to be wasted if that’s who we’re trying to reach. But Web3 is someplace that we do know that the Gen Z and Gen Alpha audiences are leaning into, and especially from a gaming perspective,” she notes. By putting the control back with the user, Web3 is going to propel a stronger, richer community and drive more affiliation.

Brady also says that third-party cookies are going away, which is something companies need to plan for. “We see the wallet as the new cookie essentially. I mean, this is an open protocol where you can have anonymous information but understand a lot of great insights of who these users are, what their affinities are, what they’ve experienced, what they’re going to be experiencing. And if you can connect that to a first-party data record, the treasure trove of information that you can make and build a deeper relationship, a more personalized relationship with these people, is really unimaginable.”

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She says that there are still a lot of things that her team is trying to work through, including:

  • Securities: A lack of regulation makes Web3 difficult to navigate. Work with your legal team closely.
  • Tax: If the transaction exceeds a certain amount you have to provide a 1099.
  • Sanctions: You must ensure that NFTs that are dropped are not going to users in countries that are being sanctioned.
  • IP: Make sure your IP isn’t being misused and is authentic.
  • Permanence: The blockchain is forever so make sure that those activations that are launching are the best because there is no course correcting.
  • Theft: Fraud, theft, and money laundering needs to be considered.
  • Privacy: Make sure there is appropriate opt-in and opt-out language for consumers.

Based on her experience she suggests companies:

  • Educate your organization, especially your cross-functional partners.
  • Partner with your legal team as early in the project as possible.
  • Identify your “rabbit team.” “There’s probably a bunch of people in your organization already who would love to be able to do something with you.”
  • Prioritize the use cases that you see to help address your business challenges or objectives and run pilots.

“The best KPI for us is ‘Did we learn something that we can take to the next project and optimize our efforts and continue to grow,’ because that’s what we need to be successful,” she says.

To hear more from Brady and what PepsiCo is doing in the Web3 space, watch her closing keynote here.

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